tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN July 4, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT
this took place at the u.s. navy memorial in washington but d.c., for an hour 45 minutes. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. i am the president of the navy memorial. i welcome you to this richard nixon legacy for more, specifically addressing the cold war strategy and has the effect upon it. my pleasure to have you with us today. this may be memorial has been here for now 22 years. we are in existence honor the service of people who have served in all of the sea services, maybe, marine, coast guard, and merchant marine, and as you can see behind me, nixon was in the navy. he served in the second world
war. he was a freight car go forward your, and he was probably most famous for helping troops out because somehow or other he got a channel to get hold of fresh hamburger meat once or twice a month, and he had nix's hamburger stands on the steely islands in the south pacific. he labored under extremely difficult conditions, an unsung, but critical to winning the war. it is my pleasure to have this forum here, pennsylvania avenue, on america's main street. with that, i would like to turn you over to the coordinator of the richard nixon legacy program, mr. jeff sheppard. [applause]
>> morning, and welcome. i am here to open the 11th of our series of richard nixon's legacy for us. this is the first one on foreign affairs. part of the reason is i spent five years on his staff doing domestic affairs, but we decided we should recognize he was a foreign exporters expert. we are pleased to do this. we are starting with richard nixon as cold war strategist. if you would study the cold war, an excellent way to start is to study the public life of richard nixon, as a congressman, senator, vice president, years as a private citizen, then present, and then years as an elder statesman. the cold war was ever a focus, and for america, we were
extraordinarily fortunate to have such a well-prepared, thoroughly experienced individual involved in that area. we know that because of the records, and one of the interesting things that we are able have welcomed us today is the archivist of the united states, who is the keeper of those records. david is a super archivist. he is a library and. he was a librarian at do, miuke. at one point in the recent past, i had a meeting with him, and i snuck in five or six books, because he is a love of books, that represented a different point of view on some aspect of the nixon presidency. i put the books on a table, we had our meeting, and he got up
with without the books, but then it occurred to me it was going to be a whole lot easier having gotten the books in to the national archives and to get the books back out. fortunately, david sent and this is now so i would take it pops out of the national archives. how am one of the very few people that have been able to do that. with that, if that we have ferrero, david archivist of the united states. , thank you, and it is a special treat to be in this building as a navy have vet. i wander over here as often as i can. it is a privilege -- pleasure to join you this morning for the latest in a distinguished series of nixon forums, co-sponsored by the national archives to read archives assumes responsibility for all libraries in 1945, when
we assumed the responsibility for the rest of the library. in 2007, the nixon library join us. a few months ago, we moved more than 42 million pages of nixon presidential records from the facility in college park, maryland, a new facility will be built at nixon library in california. the nixon library holds the fullest record of any presidential administration in history, and me know many works of scholarship will be merged from that rich trove assembled so carefully. as these forums illustrate, today for the first time his foreign policy, they play a
vital part in filling in a blanket even papers and tapes cannot do. they will convey a sense of what it was like to be there. now it is my pleasure to be them -- to introduce the moderator, edward cox. he has served three presidents and his home state of the york. he has been active in education policy and the environment. in 2009, he was elected chairman of the new york state republican party. president's7th's son and law. during the post presidential year, he accompanied nixon on many foreign trips, including some to china and the soviet union. ladies and gentlemen, ed cox. >> david, thank you very much. it is a pleasure to be here for
this forum. i would like to lead off by setting the stage about the values that president nixon held here and was a part of his make up that those values that were at the basis of everything that he did. to do that, i am going to read eulogy inor dole's 1994 for president nixon. senator dole, said, i believe the second half of that ever collect 20th-century will be known as the age of nixon. he always embodied the deepest feelings of the people he led. one of his biography said nixon was one of us/ for those among you who are wondering who that was, that was tom wicker, but he said richard
nixon was one of us, and so he was, said senator dole. tens of millions of his countrymen, he was an american hero who shared their belief in working hard, worshiping god, loving families, and saluting the flag. he called them the silent majority. like that he valued accomplishment more than ideology. they wanted the government to do the decent thing, but not to bankrupt the nation. they wanted his protection in a dangerous world, but they wanted statesmanship. it is true no one knew the world better than richard nixon. the man who was born in a house his father built would go on to become this century's greatest architect of peace. richard nixon, who i knew intimately, was a great man.
some men are great because of their positions, and they do well in those positions. richard nixon was just a great man,. . that is because some of the basic attributes that he had, and of those i would say the most important was this tremendous intellect, and intellect that thought strategically. his daughter said if there was any characteristic about him that was most important it was that he thought strategically. i would not call him an intellectual. if i did, he would probably strike me, because intellectual -- an intellectual on his or her own was not what richard nixon was about. he was about putting actions together with fox, and -- with and anyone who has
worked with these people, they understood how he put fought together with action. let me read to you from his writings in which she talked about the interaction between intellectual thought and action. he said reading is indispensable to provide perspective, so when you tackle problems, you will think broadly and not narrowly. most of the great leaders i have -- -- churchill, nowmao were prolific breeders. -- readeres. he concludes this chapter on thinking in one of his post presidential books by saying, there is no greater exhilaration than the sense of
accomplishment you feel after making a decision based on thought. intense, fo thinking provides the peace and serenity and necessary for decisive and the effective action. a man. thought and a man of action -- that was richard nixon. on his other attributes that served him well, he's a cheap sense of shifting political forces, both domestically, which made him the effective politician he was, and also internationally, which made him into the architect of peace that he was. in his post presidential years, york, heack in yto new wrote a book, a book that was
made sure that was placed on table, with pictures taken for "time"magazine. the book was entitled "the real war." we were still recovering from the imam. you had the neocons growing, the committee on present danger, and in this context, nixon wrote, this is the essence of what he was saying about foreign policy at the time -- the united states represents hope and peace. the soviet union stands for aggression and war. if we're determined to win, if we resolve to accept no substitutes for victory, victory becomes possible and the spirit gives way, gives a edge
to the sword, and the sort preserve the spirit, and freedom will prevail. those are stirring words, fighting words, words that were attempting to bring back the fighting spirit, as reagan was trying to do in the 1980 campaign and in his early can -- presidency to confront the soviet union . in 1982, i was privileged to travel with president nixon to eastern europe. went to check of slovakia, hungary romania, to bulgaria, and they did not let him into poland. if they were in poland, he was so popular there, he was possibly going to cause a riot that could topple the regime. he had tense discussions with presidents, like the president of hungary, and he absorbed what
was going on. he absorbed not just eastern europe, closely reacting to what was going on in the soviet union, and quickly read a book about real peace, a small bowl, no index, he just wanted to get it out. he knew it was time for change. here is what he said. this is makes it reacting to realities and trying to change the approach of the country of the administration. the cost of solving conflict are a massive drain on this desperately weak economy. the british may have been enriched by empire, but the soviets are be impoverished by theirs. the assets are his military power, and great as they are,
they are ill suited to solving his problems. he has to look for ways for dealing with problems or mitigate that. that brings the prospect for real peace great. both sides want peace. the time is right for a deal. this was hard-headed detente. 1983, time to adjust, time to make a deal, but time to negotiate. i think we have here some sound bites that have never been heard before of richard nixon in 1983, talking about the talks. -- about detente. >> i recall talking to the former secretary general of nato, a diplomat who served six years in moscow.
and he told me in the late 1960's, vigorously when many europeans were clamoring for detente. he said i know the russians are lyders. they are cheaters. they lie and they act because they consider it is their duty to themselves. you cannot trust them. having said that, he did not go on to say that he should not deal with them, and my answer to this whole proposal as to whether not the russians could be trusted is very simply only if we make agreements which are in their interest to keep. only if everything we do with them is linked to something else which wolcott cost them if they break the agreement. the reason is their goal is very
different from ours. our goal is peace, their goal is victory, whether it is peace or war, it is the means to the end. and under marxist teachings, use any means to achieve that creigh goal, and if it requires to lie or cheat, you lie and cheat. under the circumstances, we simply cannot follow that particular type of morality, and in dealing with that, it does not mean we have to lie and cheat, but we must be aware that they will when they can get away with it. on the other hand, we can deal with them and they will keep a deal if you make it on the basis that will serve their interests and our strees. they are thinking in terms of
the total common this world, communist society, for everybody, equality, and everything else, that communism will produce. they believe that anything they do to achieve that is justifiable. i recall a conversation with regard to the whole idea of whether or not they were sincere with a former ambassador of russian, a great russian expert, and he was concerned -- this was in the early 1960's after he had become ambassador -- statements out of washington that some washington people in the government were convinced nikita khrushchev was sincere in his desire for peace, and he said that the system board and so wrong. he said, he is a common test. -- communist.
he is a meet their ellis. he will therefore do what ever is necessary to achieve his ends. sincerity has nothing to do with it. i recall talking to -- >> you see a man who understands that you need to do a deal to initiate, but you need to negotiate from strength. it is time to negotiate because of those early years of the reagan presidency, the united states had come back in its list three straight and fighting spirit. the soviet had declined because of economic problems, the time was right to do a deal. this is his sense of the shifting political forces and what we ought to do with them. you saw here a second point, his ability to communicate in clear, simple phrases.
both of our panel who watched him work on speeches, he would work them over and over again on his yellow pad, not just the words, but his thoughts, holding them down so every word had meeting, and his audience understood that and was complemented by that, and that is what made him such an effective communicator. the other point i would like to raise about him, a basic attribute that he had throughout his career, he rejected political correctness, the accepted wisdom, the fear that people would have -- the veneer people would have, he would try to get to the essence of what the person was. out your his and whitaker chambers, good examples at the stop -- start. chambers was disheveled and is
organized, and he was a member of the e. lee and it was put together. he said, no, chambers was right,hiss was wrong. he would talk at the end of his career about gorbachev and yeltsin. everybody was impressed with gorbachev, but he went with yeltsin because he understood the essence of gorbachev. gorbachev wanted to improve communism. nelson was a true democrat who wanted to turn russia into a true democracy, and he is the person we should work with the spite of his personal problems, drinking, and all the other things we know about yeltsin. i was down in cuba and ended in 1987 in the for our conversation with fidel castro. it was simultaneous translation from 4:00 until midnight, and in
the middle, castro ordered out, how did nixon know i was a communist? 1959, washington, castro comes into power, comes the washington, and he needs with the vice president. they had a conversation, and the vice president and produced a memorandum to the president, saying, this man is a communist. castro was then operating as a great democrat, the world, and the media was saying that we had turned castro into being a communist by our approach to him. castro was saying to me in that comment that he was a communist, he is trying to deceive people about that, and president nixon saw through him and that bug him, it bothered him. he wanted to know, how did he do that? that was the ability of mr. nixon to see through the essence
of what a person was or a situation. i would like to emphasize the courage he had of his convictions. some people have the great insight and are not willing to go out there on the stage and fight for them. whether it was hiss, or whether in his final years, talking about yeltsin and pushing with the bush administration and public and private, yeltsin is the man we have to deal with. he had the courage of his convictions, which came to, which came through and everything that he did. briefly i would like to say a few things about him personally and the settings in which he worked. since he liked to think, ideas were more important than things. a small symbol bedroom and study, his favorite in the white
house was the lincoln sitting room. he had his hideaway office next to the oval office. he often entertained in his post presidential years in new york city in a library in our small apartment, which tricia been the hostess. never accepted an honorarium. he gave up his secret service because they were an impediment to his moving around freely, and he did not feel the government should pay for it. for a living, he wrote books, but he wrote books like the one i showed you, he did not make any money on it. he made speeches for impact, not for the money that was involved. as a result he did have impact. his biggest one was his trip to china, and i had my interest
back in the 1960's, singapore, one word, tricia. in the process i interacted with mr. nixon as he was campaigning for the presidency, and i was in the library, in february of 1968, and the discussion then in the newspaper was "nixon's secret plan for peace." that was rockefeller pushing nixon to expose what his plan was. i was in the library, waiting -- i was in the library, waiting for tricia to change. i asked him, i am almost a
member of the family, mr. nixon, what is your plan? i'm going to peaking, i'm going to moscow, and that is how we are going to bring peace into the world. i did not tell anyone. had already fought out what he was going to do. there are many other areas that will be discussed here, the yom kippur war, peace with honor in vietnam, and a lot of the ways of the fight now, the india- pakistan war which defines what is going on in the subcontinent now. even at the end of his career and of his life, 1994, he was still in the game. he was still thinking
strategically, and to him, the cold war, the effects of the cold war still were not over. he was concerned about russia, and his thesis was communism is dead in warsaw, but democracy has not yet won, and for that reason he was traveling back and forth to russia, worried about whether gorbachev or yeltsin was speaking on that topic. he got a call from president clinton, they had a conservation -- conversation about clinton's russia policy, and you could see how his policy changed along with the advice that was given by richard nixon. as i see it, that is the essence of the man. i would like to conclude by going back to senator dole's
look cheap. he talks about the last sign he saw president nixon, at a luncheon held in the capital honoring the 25th anniversary of his first inaugural. president nixon stood and delivered a speech, capturing the global seen as only he could and sharing his vision of america's future. he was surrounded by democrats and republicans alike when it was over, needing one more insight into world affairs, dole concluded, made the day of judging president nixon on anything other than his life would come to a close. that is what this forum is about, and the distinguished folks here who served in president nixon's administration, to address nixon
and the cold war. let me introduce them. the first speaker will be richard allen. mr. allen added a foreign affairs team during nixon's 1960 campaign and served as a member of his national security council. he went on to he is now a senior fellow at the hoover institution and president of a washington-based consulting services firm. our next speaker will be richard solomon. heat is president of the u.s. institute of peace. he served on the national security council from 1971 to 1976. he was an aide to henry kissinger. he supported nixon's efforts to normalize relationships with the
people's republic of china. he has been the assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs, and ambassador to the philippines. our third speaker will be john lehman. he is president of a private equity investment firm. he served as secretary of the navy during the reagan administration. as a staff member to henry kissinger on the national security council. as a delicate to the force reductions in vienna and at the director of the u.s. arms control and disarmament agency. richard allen, you are up.
university of notre dame. i got to meet mr. nixon when he came to the campus and was enormously impressed. in 1957, i met him again. i got to know him because i crashed a cocktail party at the capitol hill to when i was working here this summer. it was a vice president. i said i met you last year. >> he said, i remember. i began sending him my articles when i began to write. i went abroad to the university of munich to germany to do my postgraduate work. i came back and i began
communicating with mr. nixon. he eventually moved to new york. on the number of occasions i had the opportunity to visit him in new york. i was wondered about this man had a singular vision about the way the world should be organized would decide to run for president after having the experience of 1960 and then the setback for 1962 having lost the governorship to pat brown in california. maybe some people thought he would never again surfaced as a public figure. in 1966, he visited 47 congressional districts. lo and behold, 47 republican congressmen were elected. his thinking was moving more and more towards running for president again.
they put together a comprehensive programs. this is very important. it is important, when you study president reagan, to whom i was quite close over the years. when a it said that president nixon read, he did read deeply and he communed deeply with those who have specialized knowledge. he broke on tablets like that. that is exactly the way he wrote his inauguration speech. also his first inaugural address. all of these study habits and these deep discussion habits and thinking habits are brought to bear in a way that you cannot attribute to a lot of presidents we have known at least during my
lifetime. that is not to say that they were not good, excellent, or even great in their own right. those that were the most serious and the most studious that i can recall in my own mind during this time of my life which spans from 1936 were to richard nixon and ronald reagan. this came about very naturally in a way. in 1946, he was drafted to run for congress and was elected. in 1948, he began the investigation of alger hiss who invoked the sympathies of the entire establishment and correct the remark in the long run, richard nixon was right, alger
hiss was wrong. whitaker chambers was right. the alger hiss was a soviet spy. he then moved on to douglas in 1950. that also evoked a great antipathy. you can see now if you were an anti nixon -- forming. in 1968, it was a different story. we had a lot of deep thinkers on the small campaign team. they believe it was time to demonstrate a new nixon. the new nixon was very much part
of the shtick that they would say in these days. he even went to laugh and in 1968. his one line was, sock it to me. the crows eyes and a smile. a new impression was created. a hard fought campaign with nelson rockefeller and henry kissinger on the other side who did not even know richard nixon during 1968. a minor adjustment that henry and i were able to make on the vietnam platform so we would have no argument. i had been reviewing the other night to the only set of notes,
page after page after page of the first cabinet meeting the day after the cabinet was announced in the theater. mr. nixon forgot the name of his first -- his best friend. that was kind of humorous. minos go on and on and on. they charged his cabinet with getting the right people in government. this was a stupendous lesson on how to staff the government. take the people that you trust and those that you don't know, those in the bureaucracy, try to convince them of the words of your program but always take the people that you trust. that lesson was not always
learned and as a consequence we had some anomalies, shall we say, in the administrations. the nixon world view was well- developed. i think he did think in terms of winning the cold war without question. that policy came off -- for a brief amount of time during the 1970 ponce. taking a simple term that is used in diplomacy to describe relaxation of tensions, detente. taking that one simple turn and somehow elevating it into a form of theology, if you will. this was through all sorts of offshoots of thinking about the inevitability of the process.
my good friend who eventually became jimmy carter's national security adviser, he wrote a book entitled "convergence," how we would drift steadily leftward and the soviet union would draft steadily toward the right and at some point we would converge. tactically, the use of what became the theology of detente and eventually caused a great deal of ripples within the republican party and perhaps elsewhere as well. it held the theory that if you could coax the soviet union into becoming dependent on trade and aid and the transfer of technology, you could alter its behavior by the threat of the nile of that very same technology and trade to which it
had become accustomed to. it did not work. it simply did not work. that caused a bit of a setback. in the later years, after mr. nixon left office, i went to visit him in california and had long discussions with him. i think that he saw that this had been elevated to a level that did not make sense. he did think constantly about people. he was concerned about his country in a profound way. the opening to china, said cox heard it in 68. i heard it not long before that. i visited him in along offices in york city. i made some input on an article for foreign affairs magazine in
october of the 1967 entitled "asia after vietnam." in that article, which was ignored by and large, was a set of sentences that indicated what nixon had in mind. he was not prepared to talk about what that plan was in any elaborate detail lest the conversation get off track. what he wanted to do is plant the seed. i was scheduled, i was working full time in the campaign. my job was to be editor of the book on international communist affairs. i had 60 or 17 people on the staff. i talked to people who were working for us in various places in asia. i was on my way to korea, japan,
hong kong. mr. nixon said, i would like to give you letters for the president of korea and for the prime minister of japan. i don't think that the prime minister of japan will see you. his brother is a very good friend and was prime minister when i was vice president. i went on to follow the premiere in japan and to the president in korea. i was authorized to drop the notion and also another notion, the return of okinawa. the possible return of okinawa would be considered if richard nixon was elected. these two gifts, advance notice what might happen with respect to china, although it could not be quite explicit, were very
welcome in japan. by the time i got to korea, i could not deliver the letter because four days prior, the north korean sappers what guerrillas had attacked the blue house and -- was shot dead of the blue house. i could not deliver the letter. as it was, mr. nixon had a broad vision of asia after vietnam. he saw a vision to conclude as he would have liked. he saw something very profound. he opened the door to china. there is no question about it.
if he was alive today, he would have some serious second thoughts. >> thank you very much, ambassador solomon. >> my colleagues have talked about a number of the points that i would make but i will put them in more of a framework. >> please do. >> as we look at richard nixon's great contributions to our national security and our strategic positioning, it is very clear that the opening to china and the subsequent arms control negotiations with the soviet union, particularly the china opening fracture the dynamic of the cold war and restructure our dealings with the two major communist powers. there is a long history in that kind of maneuvering. the nixon initiative that really
stands out, you can go back to george washington's time. here is our first president even before the revolution and trying to figure out how to maneuver his would be country between the french and the british. the russians were there, the spanish were there. if you look at the history of that early time, you see the country trying to figure out how to deal with pressures at opportunities with countries abroad. china clearly stands out as one of the great strategic initiatives in the 20th-century diplomacy. we can look at it in some interesting perspectives that will reinforce what my colleagues have said. richard nixon came to the presidency as probably the best prepared candidate to deal with
the world of the 20 of century. as we look back on his experience as president eisenhower's vice president, it is clear that the world he was confronting in the late 60's he had dealt with very similar structural terms in the 1950's. president eisenhower dispatched vice president eisenhower -- vice president nixon. eisenhower was dealing with the alliance between the chinese and russians. one of his problems was to reassure a range of allied countries in asia that we would stand by them. that we would contribute to their security. vice-president nixon tell with the world that 15 or 60 years
later that he confronts again with this time the challenge is not the korean war but this is the vietnam war. this time, the relationship is showing at the signs of political strains. again, we have asian allied countries concerned about whether the u.s. would support the security. in 1967, for mr. nixon was mentioned in business but also considering a run to the presidency and he has to say to himself that if i win, the last thing that i've wanted to deal with is the burden of the vietnam war. it was destroying the presidency of lyndon johnson. he knew it would be a great burden to his likely candidate and challenger, hubert humphrey.
the brilliance of his consideration of the world at that time was that he could see that there might be a possibility of splitting the communist world and creating circumstances where he could leapfrog out of the quagmire and reposition the u.s. as the most maneuverable and secure element in a strategic situation. it is very interesting about the 1967 article that dick allen has referred to is that it is very -- he was thinking beyond the quagmire. how do i get out of vietnam? the other thing that is interesting as we read the article, for someone who was
mentioning the article, there is a dog who isn't working. there's almost no mention of the soviet union. whatever thinking that was going on was not communicated but in the most elliptical fashion where mr. nixon had talked about the need to engage china and so that it would not persist in its posture of angry isolation. the article did not gain much attention and what is fascinating about the subsequent history is the thing that gained world attention was a ping-pong ball. president nixon, within two weeks of his inauguration, had henry kissinger in and said that he wanted to try to engage the
chinese. he started sending messages to beijing, peking first through the romanians and then through the pakistani said. initially, those messages did not elicit much of a response. at that point, the chinese and soviet feud led to a series of military clashes along the river. that signal to the differences between the two major communist countries had reached a point where maybe something serious could be done. shortly, they went after mr. nixon began to see positive responses coming out of china.
chairman mao's a don't brought edgar snow over 40 -- chairman mao brought edgar snow over for a celebration. in april of 71, as chairman mao later said to i guess it was to henry kissinger or maybe it was the president himself, he said, all we did was we threw out a ping-pong ball and the world with crazy. suddenly, in the u.s., the great fear that we would be drawn into a war with china over vietnam and reprise in the fear that we have had in the korean war of being drawn into a war with china, suddenly that ping-pong diplomacy, the initiation of it gave people a sense that the game was in italy change.
henry kissinger made his secret chip to beijing in july of 1971 and in no secret talks, he laid the basis for president nixon's formal presidential trip to china in february of 1972. that really initiated this dynamic. let me comment a little bit. we did make an observation about china today. how did that play out.
there was the relaxation of tensions and then the normalization with the u.s. that was completed during the carter administration in 1978. -- set in motion the truly phenomenal economic growth of china and the rise of the most populous country in the world which today at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century is reshaping certainly the world economy and we will have to see what its impact is more broadly in strategic terms. one of the things that president nixon was concerned about in his opening to the chinese was not dispiriting our allies.
in the discussions with president nixon and henry kissinger thought that -- would be so dispirited by the opening that they would throw in the town and it would be an accommodation of some sort and that china would be reunified on the basis of mao and -- had perceived which was taiwan coming under communist control. 2011 is still there. they have prospered. the politics have opened. when the questions is whether the mainland relationship as it is generally referred to
largely is detoxified of the civil war element. there's a situation where the u.s. does what it can to secure the island. the other two fascinating elements that are resulting out of the nixon initiative of 1971 to vietnam and korea, one of the tremendous irony is of those initiatives is today, who was are most enthusiastic friends in asia. the claims to the south china
sea remains an interesting question. finally, there is korea. at the same time that kissinger's secretly was in beijing, camel song -- kim il- song was in beijing. shortly after the secret trip, within a few hours, chairman mao went back to north korea to try to reassure kim il-sung was not going to harm the north
so the nixon initiative set off dramatic trends that continue to play out and without question have enhanced the american security. >> thank you very much. secretary lehman? >> thank you, and in the interest of full disclosure. i have to disclose that i am a dick allen-trained man. and while his introduction was brief, there are many things left out that are relevant here. dick was one of the three founders, along with arleigh burke, for whom this theater is named, of what is now the csis, and while he was there, he wrote a book called "peace or peaceful
co-existence," which i read when i was an undergraduate and was very much struck by and so i made a pilgrimage to the css, as it was then called, part of georgetown university, which was in a tiny little townhouse in georgetown, and met dick for the first time and that led to a long relationship that endures strongly front day. but it was dick allen who brought me into the white house on his staff and on the kissinger staff, and that has influenced my thinking ever since. and what i wanted to talk about is to set a geopolitical, and a
military context for what the world looked like when richard nixon took office because it's really the balance was so much tilted against the united states that people tend to forget the environment in which he had to work. he really had a three-front war. he was the first president elected since mid 19th century with both houses of congress in the hands of the other party. and it was bitterly divided at the time over the vietnam war and not just the vietnam war, but the actual cold war itself with books like "convergence" and two "two apes and a treadmill" and the rise of
revisionists, historians who interpreted history as the cold war being our fault, that the soviet union was just reacting our constant building of the military and provocation and that was part and parcel of a defeatism that had grown in nato because at the time people were skeptical of an idea of a sino-soviet rift and from the western europe perspective, they faced a massive chinese potential military reinforcement of an already massive warsaw pact, standing army of 180 divisions that were poised to sweep across western europe and everyone knew in nato councils that their argument was between whether it would take one week,
two weeks or three weeks for the warsaw pact to reach the channel. nobody argued. there wasn't a serious argument anywhere in nato that that was all that it would take for them to sweep across europe, and then it would go nuclear, and the western europeans knew that while we could call it a tactical nuclear weapon, that so-called flexible response was a trigger to all-out nuclear war for them. what is tactical from the other side of the atlantic is very total for them when nuclear weapons are used, and then the third front was, of course, vietnam, and southeast asia. and so, the president had a daunting strategic picture when he came and it was very easy to
criticize his initiatives to start negotiations on strategic arms limitation and ballistic missile defense and so forth, but the fact is, there were no real strategic building programs going on in the united states at the time when president nixon took office. the russians had five new strategic systems being deployed they had two new bombers, strategic bombers, including the backfire. they had ss-18, the ss-11's, they had solid fuel, new solid fuel rockets and nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. they were at full deployment and touting of their 1700 ship navy
and while the united states fleet at the time that president nixon came in was rapidly shrinking from just below 1,000 ships, it was declining at about 10% a year while the soviet fleet was growing at about 20% a year and serious ships, more than 100 nuclear submarines and we had no building programs. and so it's my belief that his allowing of the detente view of american policy to gain the traction it did which led to the negotiations of the salt i treaty and the ballistic millions, the a.b.m. treaty, was because he, as i -- after he was out of office, had discussed
with him myself -- he didn't have many alternatives. it was, in his view, a way to keep things kind of, say, nice doggie, nice doggie, while he looked for a stick. and he -- and the congressional front, it's very -- we think we have a bitter, divided situation in washington today especially in congress. this was a sunday school picnic compared to the bitterness in congress at that time. congress was very different then. both parties were split between hawks and doves to oversimplify. the jackson wing of the democratic party was still very strong, and more anti-detente
than the republicans were, whereas the republicans, there were many more liberal republicans at the time like clifford case and so forth that split the republicans. so it was a very complicated situation, and i think that with the perspective of history, it was a very astute way to deal with the issue, because in order to get the a.b.m. treaty and the salt i treaty through, it was necessary to use and the president did it, i think, very effectively, with his congressional relations staff, and his own personal relationships on the hill, to force the liberal democrats and the liberal republicans in the
case wing of the party to support an entirely new what was then called ulbms, underwater large ballistic missile system, tomahawk cruise millions. missile. so it was a real criticism against those two treaties as the fruits of detente was that it legitimized a two-to-one advantage by the soviet union in strategic delivery systems and it put a stop, an effective stop to the expansion of the advantage that the united states had in the technology of ballistic missile defense. the soviets did not have the capability to deploy a.b.m. and we did. we had two active sites at the time the treaty was negotiated
but in retrospect, this was what enabled the funding and the acceleration of these strategic programs which, here heretofored been totally blocked on the hill and so in retrospect it was, i believe, in president nixon's view, the way to use some jiu-jitsu in a political hostile situation, to begin the redressing of the balance that he felt had been allowed to decline very, very seriously, and with regard to the opening to china, as you know, there have been several books written about the navy's role in gathering intelligence during those years. suffice it to say that some of these books have alleged that we
were tapping cables and reading in realtime exactly what the russians were -- soviet high command was reacting, thinking and ordering in their deployments and so forth and there's no doubt in my mind that the opening to china, which i thought was ably handled after the thunder clap of the trip, had a huge impact on soviet thinking, that suddenly transformed their perspective from clearly being arrogantly dominant, in knowing they could sweep to the channel, one of the highest soviet planners told me that they ran extensive war games just as we did every year and even better analytically
tooled ops analysis of all of the nato exercises and all of our exercises and they said they never had an exercise that, in which, nor did their intelligence gathering from nato exercises, where they weren't able to get to the channel in a week, and then suddenly they had to suddenly face a two-front strategic dilemma because here was the united states, now, dealing with china, and china was becoming more, much more aggressive in dealing with the soviet union because they had this new opening. the chinese saw even better than we how much that would change the strategic picture in the pacific. so, i believe that the cold war ended as it did in no small measure because of the impact,
however astutely or badly was played as the years went by, of this tremendous sea change in the strategic global balance with the openings to china. >> john, you've really opened a very interesting line of inquiry here because the opening to china was as much about the soviet union as it was about china, and president nixon, in his later years, said to me that there were two major mistakes he saw he had made. one was wage price controls, which i would agree. >> yes, indeed. >> i would agree that was a big mistake. >> i certainly would. >> politically and. >> and detaching the dollar from the gold standard. >> we're all foreign policy guys. you domestic guys react later. >> the second was that he didn't mine high fong and do more intense bombing of north vietnam
earlier in 1969 rather than when he did it after the trip to china and before the trip to the soviet union. we forget that the trip to the soviet union was the first trip by an american president to the soviet union and he did it against the backdrop of very strong military attacks on north vietnam that he later regret he had done earlier. my question is, if he had done it earlier, would it have been possible to do it earlier with respect to his thinking about going to china? would it have been possible to go to china against that? and with respect to the soviet union, would he have been able to do it without having some violent response from them. after the trip to china, they were unnerved by that and the very fact that the trip was pulled off after that was seen,
as you can imagine how the north vietnamese held about that. >> even an earlier incident which occurred within the first 70 or 80 days, john will remember, the north koreans shot down unarmed e.c.121, a constellation, old propeller driven naval aircraft observation plane. >> a nice term for a spy plane. >> yes, e.c.-121. and we got the hit order, the hit speech, so i said to john, see if you can't find kennedy's 1961 cuban missile crisis speech. little did i know he was having two speeches written so we labored for a couple of days. it had to be a quick response
time, and submitted the draft of a speech to r.n. and then watched the press conference or the announcement that night what happened and r.n. announced that he wasn't striking. we had called for targets in north korea, by the way, and everything was under rocks, in mountainsides, harbors were built. nothing exposed except a civilian population so a countervailing strike would have been nothing so there was no point in doing that. what was the ultimate reason? president nixon thought that by not reacting militarily in that early provocation, whether we committed the provocation or they committed the provocation by shooting down the 121, sending a signal to the chinese that we intended to pursue a
reasonable course, and would not resort immediately to force. the sino-soviet split came as a result of the cuban missile crisis. that's where it really broke into the open. the chinese condemned the soviets for backing down, saying they were not revolutionaries after all, they had basically lost their revolutionary fervor and it was china that was going to carry on with this vast revolutionary warfare, people's war, so on, so forth, national liberation movement. >> let me give you an alternative view of the origin of the sino-soviet. it was krushchev's attack that told mao tse-tung that the man he relied on for his own political credibility in china, stalin, had been taken down, so krushchev, in effect, was
undermining mao's authority within the communist movement which is not to say that the cuban missile crisis was not. >> it was a scab -- if i can put it. >> since we're in the memorial here with distinguished naval persons like our national archivist here, let me take the naval view of your question. could we have taken action earlier? my view is that we could have mined the entire north vietnamese coast without bringing china in. had we embarked on the kind of christmas bombing, b-52 saturation bombing, or taken a lot more of the protected sites off the protected target list, i think that would have brought the chinese reinforcement, not
necessarily brought them into the war covertly, i don't think that would have happened, but they would have greatly increased their support and i really want to hear both dick's response to this but the hostility between the vietnamese and the chinese goes back millennia and the chinese were not that comfortable in supporting vietnam. certainly they supported them in solidarity with their communist brothers but their national dislike of the vietnamese made a much more complex issue. i personally think we could have brought a better and earlier end to the war had we mined particularly enforced a mining operation but not increasing the bombing. >> what i find interesting, significant about this exchange, is that the way president nixon
combined the use of military strength and diplomacy and diplomacy -- military capability was always the servant of diplomacy and i think he felt that, related to the vietnam situation, he felt that his opening to the chinese would so demoralize the vietnamese, it would change the dynamic of the paris negotiations about ending the vietnam war. and i think there he had to have been disappointed in the degree to which the vietnamese toughed it out and of course you remember the relation had deteriorated to the point where sau ping tried to teach the vietnamese a lesson, that when ping came to washington on his triumphal conclusion of the
normalization process, he told president carter he was going to teach the vietnamese a lesson. they had a border punch-up. the vietnamese did actually give the chinese a bleed nose. they didn't come out very well out of it, but that level of hostility was there and has been there as you said for centuries and it's still there in the balance in the region today. but, again, for president nixon, the military was always a component with the diplomatic, the political deal being the ultimate objective. >> i'd just like to make one point that has not been made, although you mentioned the president's book. there is a corpus of 10 books that richard nixon has written and it wasn't just six crises after having lost the
governorship in california and writing about six major crises of his life. i think i have all of them and i think i have all of them signed by r.n., a great treasure. if you take those 10 books together and i have not re-read them in recent years, but what i do remember of them, is that you have a complete world view, that is complete, not ideological and closed in thought, but you can also test the evolution of mr. nixon's thinking in reaction to real events. he recognized the opening as we discussed with the article in october 1967, foreign affairs, which was my job to explain, within a few months. people didn't pay any attention
to it. >> no, but there was, excuse me for interrupting, some people were paying attention and the. >> the literatey like you were paying attention. >> the chinese were. one of the things ed cox said that richard nixon read history and thought about it deeply. when he had his first meeting with jo li, he said i've read your six crises and it's not a bad book and to brag slightly, when i joined the national security council staff, i had just finished a 600 page book analyzing chinese politics. the chinese translated that book as they did, of course, mr. nixon's writings, and were getting word. >> it you get your royalties? >> unfortunately, no royalties. the point is that the chinese
did really want to understand the thinking of their counterparts. >> there is a critical point -- you're absolutely right about that. another critical point, the american press didn't want to understand richard nixon's positions and i want to relate a very humorous incident that took place in key biscayne in the fall, the summer-fall of 1968. martin anderson and his wife, also a great scholar, and i, were talking with mr. nixon and i believe alan greenspan was there, too. beebe rabozo was there and r.n. himself and we were discussing the press treatment of r.n.'s discussion of many issues and he said, damn it, the press is not paying attention to what i'm
saying on the issues and i've spoken on every darned issue there is and martin and i said, yes, sir, we know. and i had been keeping issues for about two years of richard nixon's statements and i had pat buchanan sending me the speeches and i was cutting them up and this was before computers and xerox machines. i'd slice it out and put it in cards on a shoe box. there's a story within the story. this is while i was at the hoover institution. we had about 15 or 16 people on the staff and some people who would assemble my stuff and one of the side tasks in doing this for the year book on international communist affairs was to use one of the people to collect the richard nixon statements and i would categorize them so i had a shoe
box full of cards and one day i gave it to a young ladder and i said, are you doing this work and she said, yes, i am, sir, and we got it done and i thought, where have i seen her before? on the cover of "time" magazine was the story of an interracial marriage that had taken place among two stanford students, one of them being dean rusk's daughter. dean rusk's daughter was organizing my nixon issues cards. so i went back the next day and said, excuse me, you're margaret, you are who i think you are, aren't you? and she said, yes, mr. allen, but i need this job and my husband and i need the money i'm making in this job and i would never, ever say anything to my father. i went away almost in tears and didn't say a word, thought,
well, fat's in the fire. i later got a chance to tell secretary rusk that story and he was gobsmacked by what happened. fast forward, those cards, mr. nixon at that meeting said, allen and anderson, get your rear ends on an airplane right now and get up to new york and within four days with the aid of bill casey who came as a volunteer to the campaign, we put together a 168-page book of nixon on the issues, had them printed. i designed them and i had one copy in leather bound entitled "nixon socks it to 'em" and it was carried to the plane by mary fronning of my staff in new york and given to mr. nixon, the one leatherbound copy and he said, that's great, give it to the
press and martin anderson handed it out to the press and never again for the rest of the campaign did the question of nixon on the issues ever come up. >> you raise a very good point about mr. nixon and during the buildup to the 1968 election, there was a period of time when he said to the staff, you're not going to see me for the next nine months, i'm going to be traveling. you go ahead and do what you have to do, but i'm going to south america, to the mideast, to asia and he did that with one person accompanying him and he built up a dossier. >> normally pat buchanan. >> right. on the issues but this opens up other areas, of course, the cold war wasn't just about china and vietnam but it was also about the mideast. and what was going on in the mideast and of course the 1973 war in the mideast and he was prepared to deal with what came up in the yom kippur war, the threat to israel which he then
took care of personally. i mean, he made sure resupplies were on the way and he made sure -- the soviets already left egypt but it opened the relationship between egypt and the united states and the relationship in the military. would someone like to comment on the mideast part of the cold war and when mr. nixon did then? >> one quick vignette and then i'll pass it on but since we're in the navy memorial here, the way that president nixon, it was -- it was hanging in the balance in 1973, as you remember, and for the first time the russian his had given the egyptians and the syrians hand-held heat-seeking missiles
and they were devastating the israeli air force and they needed replacements. they needed a-4's and phantoms. not one of our allies in nato would allow landing rights and fighters can't make it across the atlantic and across the mediterranean so within as you know, richard nixon spent time in world war ii on carriers and was aware of their capabilities and he said why don't you line up aircraft carriers and hop scotch them over. within two days, the air force had carriers strategically placed and they got to israel before they lost their air force. >> golda miier knew those were on the way, they could go on the offensive again with the egyptian armies and there was the other part of it when israel had trapped the egyptian armies
in southern sinai, the president said, no, stop. and that led to the relationship between egypt and the united states. is that correct? >> i think that's exactly right and it was, again, a great strategic insight that propelled him to make the decisions that he made at the time. there was a lot of hesitation internally at that time but he saw the shape of what could come out of it if the players on the chessboard were treated accordingly. it's even more remarkable that right now there's great reason to worry about a reversal of all of that in terms it of an egyptian-israeli relationship and what will come as a result of the mideast today. i wish we had r.n. around so we could get some thinking and guidance on how to handle the
middle east because it's sorely needed. >> go back to the cards. >> i guess we're all a little bit in our anecdotage so i can't resist telling. >> "anecdotage?" >> i can't resist telling the story of the trip i took with dick early in the administration, we went to libya. >> we were the last white house officials to visit libya before the takeover by qaddafi. >> and i sat next to the defense minister, right before qaddafi took over and king edrus was in greece getting medical treatment. and the defense minister said, well, we were very impressed with how your navy pilots flew against the egyptians and i said, they weren't navy pilots, they were israelis. the israelis have phantoms and
he said, oh, yes, but we lived with the jews for a thousand years, they can't fly airplanes. this was the defense minister. >> was that when they served me lamb. >> lamb's eye, right. [laughter] >> the point was, another thing john did for me on that trip was to arrange for me to fly in the back seat of an f-4 with a fuel ordnance strike but shortly thereafter, qaddafi took over and the big issue was my god they're going to raise the price of oil from $5 a barrel. >> that's an interesting observation. you did refer to, with respect to the resupply, that the president himself said, how about lining up aircraft carriers to get them there.
there was resistance in the defense department and the state department. they were trying to think what to do, but president nixon because that issues box and because he thought it out in advance, said, we're going to do this, how about doing it this way, let's get done, and the consequences of that stretched out many years. >> what else would be new in the state department for a white house initiative? >> let me ask since we're coming out with all these inside baseball stories, something about his long enduring concern with maintaining an effective relationship with the chinese, and that relates to his reaction to the shoot-up of the students. he privately made it very clear to president bush that the relationship with china could not be destroyed by the public
reaction to the shooting of the student demonstrators and that led to the secret trip that brent scowcroft took in the summer of 1989 to try to sustain the relationship through what was obviously a period where the domestic basis of political support for the chinese had been seriously eroded, undermined by tiananmen. the other part of it, which i was in the middle of, was in 1990, i was negotiating a settlement to the cambodian conflict and the issue of trying to deal with our p.o.w.-m.i.a. issue as it related to vietnam, and we were having negotiations through the united nations security council first in new york and then in paris, and this was after tiananmen and dealing
with the chinese on a direct bilateral basis was still a no-no but we were dealing with them through the u.n. and president nixon knew i was carrying out this negotiation. i was the assistant secretary for east asia at that point. and he invited me to dinner at his house in saddle river, new jersey, and he grilled me on what our objectives were in negotiating with the chinese, what were we going to do with vietnam, because he was very worried that we were going to somehow go too easy on the vietnamese and somehow compromise our dealings with the chinese, and for whatever it's worth, i think the dinner discussion reassured him and now if you look at the outcome of the cambodia settlement and the road map to normalizing with
vietnam, if there was any beneficiary of that negotiation, which did get all of the major powers who had been involved in indochina since the french-colonial period, it was the chinese, because with the french out, the british out, the americans out, china's just over the border. >> that's interesting. one of the jobs as national security adviser and council staff is to brief former presidents from time to time and i once went up to new york in 1981 and brought a leading soviet specialist, richard pipes, and china specialist, jim lily, and on the way in, mr. nixon said to me, called in a car, and we had big clunky phones and he said are those people with you? and i said, yes, sir. and he said, tell them to go shopping for a while before we have dinner, i want to talk to you. so i sat down with him alone and
he said, all right, now, allen, i want you to tell me what's going on inside. i want to know what's going on, all of the details there. well, i had to sort of bunt my way through that afternoon because his long arm and his mind were still very much in the present of that day. he knew exactly what was going on. he kept the at the tetrodes, ifu will, into various parts of the government. he could talk to dick solomon, to me, to al haig, to anyone he wanted to because people would answer his telephone call and answer his summons and that night we had a dinner in that brownstone in new york city and he displayed all of the mastery that he had had for a long time
and never lost, never lost until the very end. >> let me add one other story. you've got my juices flowing, about how important china was to this man. after i served on the national security council staff to the summer of 1976 and then i went to the rand corporation for what turned out to be a decade. anyway, early 1977, i'm sitting in my office and my secretary, eyes wide open, says, president nixon's on the line. when i worked for henry kissinger, the president never called directly to staff levels like us. but president nixon had just recovered from his phlebitis and of course was in that dark situation after his resignation and he grilled me for over half
an hour, what's going on in china? i don't think he wanted to call henry kissinger to find that out. he knew what i was up to and about. and he hung up at the end of this half hour and i said that, son of a gun, he's going to rehabilitate himself by going to china and sure enough, a few months later, it was announced that the chinese had invited him as their old friend to come back to china and it began, if you like, the political rehabilitation as an international figure of richard nixon. >> that's an extremely important point. i went out to see him at san clemente afterwards and we walked the beach a little bit and he talked of a program, a get-well program. he didn't use those words, but a get-well program, shortly after he had gone out to california.
and he had a plan each then, a strategic plan, that he was going to implement, and he was going to travel, and it was an amazing thing to watch a plan that he set out once more, again, he has had plans all his life, strategic plans that unfolded and the get-well plan was extremely well thought through and masterfully executed. 10 books,, a comprehensive -- my thought is that coming up on r.n.'s centennial for 2013, it might be a very good idea to put together the 10 in a set so that they're in just not disparate volumes but that they're republished and put together in a boxed set. >> they're extraordinary books that reverberate through the day. he was one of the first to write about the muslim countries and
the importance for the future. this was long before others focused on this. you could see it growing from book to book to book. i remember in 1974 as we rose in marine one and went by the washington monument, he was still president until noon, what do you say to the president, and i said, mr. president, 10 years, you'll be back. sure enough, 10 years later, on the cover of "newsweek" magazine, after he made a presentation, that extraordinary ability of him to present what was going on in the world. >> ed, i have snuck up behind you and that's a perfect note to conclude this forum on. we could go on all afternoon. we expect more forums and more talks about the 37th president with these people and others but
>> coming up tonight here on c-span, a discussion about how social media can be used as a to to promote civic engagement. then the dalai lama on nonviolence in the 21st century. he was joined by sister helen prajam, author of "dead man walking." and another look at foreign policy under president nixon's administration. the senate was scheduled to take a week-long break for the july 4 holiday but majority leader reid decided to have senators continue tomorrow to continue negotiation sayss on the debt ad deficit. on the floor, a vote on moving
the resolution regarding libya at 5:00. and the house is out for the july 4 holiday. the main work this week will be on defense spending for fiscal 2012. also expected. the flood insurance program. the house is live on c-span and the senate on c-span 2. now, a discussion on how social media can be used as a tool to promote civic engagement. panelists talk about how young people use social media to be more informed and proactive through activism, politics and entrepreneurship. hosted by the ronald reagan presidential foundation, this is an hour and a half. >> newt gingrich announced he was running for president, not through a press conference, but by issuing statements on facebook and twitter.
is this really the predominant way we're sharing news? a true story. two years ago, while lying on a beach in hawaii with my family, my niece gets a text from her friend and it said o.m.g., michael jackson is dead. when we got in the car, i turned on the news and the text was correct. a week and a half ago, i was in the house playing with the kids and my husband was on facebook. he said that all of his friends were posting on facebook that osama bin laden was dead. we quickly turned on cnn and sure enough, and had my husband not been on facebook, who knows how many hours would have gone by before we heard this story. in both instances, i learned about the news from social media. yes, i confirmed what was going on by turning on the television news, but that wasn't my first point of contact. what does this really mean about
the way we engage with one another and shares information. when i was asked to give today's introduction, i immediately got nervous. not because speaking in public makes me uncomfortable, but because the topic, mixed with the audience, made me intimidated because i would be remiss to think that i know more about social media than you. but through my job as director of communications for the reagan foundation, i have learned the importance and reach of social media, whether facebook, twitter, youtube, in getting out our message and the message of ronald reagan and pulling people together through the power of his words. by using current technology of today, we can instantly send out information which not only keeps ronald reagan current in this news cycle, but reaches out to everyone, introducing his
policies to people who may just now be learning about him. following the raid on bin laden's compound, we immediately added a quote on our facebook and twitter pages from ronald reagan's remarks a day after the united states air strikes against libya in 1986. we posted "terrorism is the preferred method of weak and evil men and in order for teelve evil to succeed, it's only necessary that good men do nothing. we demonstrated that doing nothing is not america's way." that quote was read, retweeted, reposted and commented on by thousands of people, who, without the advent of social media, we would not have been able to reach, at least not as quickly or as wide spread. social media becomes the opportunity to speak with people from all over the world that might not have had the opportunity to speak with otherwise in an instantaneous
approach, to spread your message, share your cause, rally the troops. during president reagan's farewell address to the nation, he reflected back on the things he had done and said and remarked, i want a nickname, the great communicator, but i never thought it was my style or the words i used that made the difference, it was the content. i wasn't a great communicator but communicated great things. obviously, social media as understood today didn't exist when president reagan was president. his ideas or his content were communicated through television, radio, newspaper, public speeches. we can only guess now how his messages and causes would have been spread differently if facebook and twitter were around. that's why it's our job at the reagan foundation to communicate his ideas through social media to help continue his legacy and share his principles today and into the future. as ronald reagan once said, let
us be sure that those who come after us will say of us in our time that in our time we did everything that could be done. thank you. >> thank you very much, melissa. before we get started today, i wanted to acknowledge a few of our guests. mr. stanley mantooth, ventura county superintendent of schools. thank you for coming. [applause] we also have with us today marty tippens murphy, a member of our national advisory council and does amazing work with the organization, facing history and ourselves. [applause] and also her colleague from facing history and ourselves, ms. mary hendra, thank you for coming. [applause] and we are also delighted to have christian linke, program
director at the arslin program whose work focuses on youth civic engagement, responsible for the attendance of mr. kenny and his students who are tweeting and facebooking and giving commentary through this program today. thank you very much. also, hello to our live audience of students and people watching on the internet. thank you for spending about 90 minutes of your time today listening in on this important conversation. at the end of the last millennium, "time life" magazine selected johan gut berg's printing press as the single most important invention, beating out vaccines, telephones, refrigerators, and the personal computer. why? why is it something that helps mass produce books is considered more important than cars which changes the way industry and transportation works? why is it that the printing
press is more important than vaccine which is saving countless lives across the globe, and why is it more important than the computer? why? because sir frances bacon once said, knowledge is power. books were the first item in the history of mankind to be mass produced. that would take a scribe countless hours to copy could be copied hundreds and thousands of times at a fast rate. this led to a tremendous rise in literacy rates. no longer did you have to be the son of a nobleman or member of the clergy to obtain a manuscript and read. reading and books and the ideas within the books were suddenly available to large segments of the population. what did this mean? it meant pretty drastic changes in the way the world worked. in religion, the church clergy were no longer the only ones
able to read and interpret the bible. this led to the reformation of the catholic church and drastic changes in the way christianity and religion worked. in the united states, printing enabled men like benjamin franklin to rise to fame and influence. and the ideas that led to the american revolution, the ideas of russo, locke, payne, jefferson, these were spread through the printing press. as history moved forward, mass communication evolved, became quicker and more efficient and reached a larger audience. in the 1930's and 1940's, president roosevelt used a radio to effectively communicate with an entire country during the fireside chats during the depression and world war ii. in the 1960's, john f. kennedy used good looks, charisma and the power of television to ride a wave to the presidency. and ronald reagan, the namesake
of this library and museum, used mass communication first to rise to prominence as a radio announcer and movie star and then as president he utilized mass communication to console the nation after the explosion of the challenger space shuttle, to denounce the evils of communist regimes, bring down the berlin wall and restore america's confidence in itself. now we have the next iteration of mass communication in the form of social media, the quickest, cheapest, most efficient way to share information with a large audience. sites like facebook, youtube, twitter, they've taken the power of guttenberg's printing press and placed it in the hands of anyone who has access to a computer or smart phone. as recently as a decade ago, if i told you you could have a piece of equipment the size of a candy bar, put it in your pocket and you could communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, you would think i was crazy.
now it's an everyday reality. as social media evolves, we see the further demockization of mass communication. you don't have to go through a publisher to share your thoughts and ideas with the world. you can blog, tweet and use youtube to send it in seconds. it's easier than ever before for companies, organizations, politicians and celebrities to communicate with and inspire followers, encouraging them to buy goods, volunteer services and organize in an effort to better their world. what does that mean for you, the students and educators in our audience today? it means that you have a tremendous amount of power. it means that you have the power to share your ideas, to influence others, to connect with those who share your passions, to engage with those who think differently than you
do and effect positive change. president eisenhower once said that there is nothing wrong with america that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and love of its citizens cannot cure and social media offers an opportunity for citizens both in america and abroad to make their communities better. today's panel will examine the connections between being civically engaged and the use of social media, with a focus on how young people can leverage their use of social media as tools to promote civic engagement. our panelists come to us from a diverse group of organizations. at the far end of the table, from the harry potter alliance, a group that uses mythology from the harry potter series to inspire good deeds, we have mr. andrew slack. from the national conference on
citizenship, which is a congressionally chartered organization, which, among many other things, measures the civic health of the country, we have christen campbell edirector of new media and programs. from splash life, a movement that works with members to volunteer, donate, exercise citizenship, produce, share content, in exchange for points that can unlock deals from anything from textbooks to jeans to laptops and healthcare, we have melissa helmbrecht. and from the digital youth network, a group that gives students digital tools to foster engaged, informed and collaborative citizens, we have mr. akili lee. and i'm excited because a couple of our panelists will be
tweeting live from stage as the panel is going on. so though the work they do is quite different, they all seek to promote civic engagement and i'm looking forward to the conversation we're going to have and you're probably tired of listening to me speak so i'm going to begin with our panelists and open up with a question that some of you who went out to classrooms in the last week or so, we asked you the same question and i don't think it's easy to answer which is why i thought i would put it to them because they're smart people and probably have good ideas. but my first question is, to give you context, what does it mean to be civically engaged and if you could also share a bit and talk about how your organization works to promote civic engagement. i'll start closest to me and we'll move our way down for this one and we'll open it up. feel free to jump in and respond. akili? >> o.k. again, i think this is a terminal definitely has a different meaning to different people and i think that's o.k.
and should embrace that to some extent. for me, i would define being civically engaged as being an active member of your community, however you want to define community, from your school to your block to your city, your country, looking at yourself as a global citizen, but how are you, one, staying aware of what's going on around you and how are you taking an active part in determining what goes on around you so recognizing that everything around you is essentially malleable, right? it can all be changed and how can you leverage your skills, media, activism, how can you leverage those skills that you have, whatever's unique to you, to make sure you're contributing to the reality around you. .
-- interacting in different ways. you used to have to rely on the printing press. only a certain number of folks said resources to publish books and newspapers. right now you can do anything from a blog to your website and web magazine. you can do all that with an access to smartphone or a computer. from our perspective, we are saying, how can we work with young people to leverage technology, understanding that it is a different landscape. whether it is digital media, we want you to be an informed citizen who can leverage skills to be more active and impact what is going on around you. >> melissa, question. -- same question.
>> all of your high school students. i remember when you were in high school -- when i was in high school. what i thought it meant sickly in gage was to believe what my parents believe. when i was in ninth grade, everybody that my parents wanted to vote for, what they cared about, is what i cared about. i think that part of becoming pacifically engaged -- civically engaged means making up your own mind for what you stand for and what you believe in. high school is the time when you start to explore all kinds of political issues and social causes. you begin to decide what it is you believe and what you want to stand for. i think civic engagement is
different at different phases of your life. as high school students, the most important thing is to figure out what you're going to stand for and what you are going to believe by participating in the school the day program, by falling current events, wyclef wanted to run for president of haiti. well was that about? there are all of these issues. to not be a spectator but to research and use the internet to search if you hear something like he wants to run for president of haiti. to get on google lead to figure out why he wants to do that, what it means. and to develop your own independent ideas. >> thank you. i think i would echo of a lot of what the first analysts have
said. we were discussing backstage how challenging this question is. civic engagement mean so many different things to some many people. it is a personal experience and a lot of ways. it makes it hard to talk about it and how you promote it. from my perspective, and my organization, i would say that i think of the more as the process of taking an active role in creating the community want to live in. that can be done in a variety of ways. it is volunteering, it is community service. it is contacting your congressman. it is staying connected to information and current events. it is doing favors for neighbors. it is a diverse set of skills and activities and actions and behavior's that leads someone to be civic clean days. i think it is more of wanting to make a contribution to the
greater good than playing an active role in that. i think that is what it means. one of the ways that we do that at the national conference on citizenship is we measure participation and a lot of the areas i mentioned. but what we really want to do is understand more of the challenges in our communities and how people are connecting with each other's and what sort of policies, initiatives can be developed to help people be more active participants. one of the things i think that online engagement does to help inform us is, we are a 65 year- old institution. we were founded in 1946. what it means to be an active citizen in 2011 is not the same thing it meant in 1946. in a lot of ways i think we are charged to define a modern
citizenship and what ways are people currently are engaged. that is why it is important to have conversations like this. in a lot of ways, and even in surveys and metrics to not capture those activities because they are so rapidly expanding and evolving. in the same way that the census used to ask you, do you put a bumper sticker on your car or do you put a lawn sign in your yard for a politician or a candidate, now it is important to say, do you put your cost on facebook? do you support a political candidate through online engagement? a lot of the ways that people are interacting with each other are changing because of these tools. it is important that the way we measure that government that can keep up with this. >> thank you. it is an honor to be here again. my name is andrew. i think all three of you just
answer that question. i almost want to just skip. but i have one thing to add that is a different approach to the question. who here is 14? raise your hands. 15? 16? 17? 18? 19? 44? [laughter] i cannot see you if you're watching this on a web cast but, hi. one of our members in the harry potter alliance and someone who lived close to me in boston became close friends. her name is faster. she died at the end of august at age 16. she did so much in terms of civic engagement. she had cancer when we met. she died. her death was something that
changed me and our friendship. it got me thinking about a lot of things. i am close to her family still. the way she lived is more important to me than the fact that she died. i bring this up for a reason. here is a shocking statistic, 100% of babies born today are going to die. that is injustice. it is a job. we are all going to die. there is a story i heard about this that is inspirational. it ties into the question. i feel like i am rambling. there is a little boy waved in the ocean, flopping around. having fun. thinking about girl waves. all of a sudden, he realized what is going to happen to him. he saw he is going to smash into the shore.
he was miserable over this. he was scared and sad and felt like his life was pointless. he starts moping around thinking he is so smart and house to put all the other ways that are happy. if only they knew we were going to die. then he saw a girl wave that was happy. she looked and asked him why he was sad. he said you do not understand the truth. we are all moving quickly to the shore. when we do, we're going to smash apart and be nothing. we are going to die. she smiled and looked at him and said, you do not understand. you're not just a wave, you a part of the ocean. to me, that is the fundamental reality as to how we want to think about civic engagement verses nothing.
do you want to have an attitude that is all about me? if you want to have that, i am cool with that. but if you wanted to be all-out of you, you, you,. it is not that happy. it does not bring that much happiness. the reality is that we are all united in some way. some larger way. we are all part of the ocean. we can think about something bigger than ourselves. we can give love. the weapon we have is love. for those of red "harry potter ," it is the most powerful thing. love is something that the more you give, the more you get. it keeps spreading. there is a lot of people who need love. there are a lot of people next to you who need that. you need love. if we spread that, that matters a great deal.
if we have a sophisticated understanding of people in washington and the people in the u.n. that we pay, they make decisions that end up affecting the people we love and people we never met we would love. they will affect their level of happiness and suffering. we begin to develop a sophisticated approach. thinking about the people sitting next year, the people in your community who may feel lonely or six. and the people who are in our larger world. systematically, politically. these are all forms of civic engagement. the fundamental truth is that no matter what you feel about politics or whatever, we are part of the notion. we are holding each other here. it makes our lives so much more meaningful and exciting than this sort of self-centered
approach to life. that is my philosophical answer. >> thank you very much. i want to pick up that idea of being part of the ocean. to tie that into our next question, how does social media help foster civil engagement? social media helps us to see how big the ocean is and how big our reach can be. it helps us realize we are not just a wave. we are part of a much larger movement. my question to you is, how does it help foster engagement? if you could share some examples from the work you do. if you feel you have a good response, you can chime in. how the social media help? >> one way is because no longer do people have to wait for an organization to come to them and ask them to vote or to serve or
to get their friends involved in something. they can stand up and say this is what is important to me. i want to do that. it is helping to foster a power shift in terms of becoming less centralized and the coming to a network based strategy and seeing how empowering their supporters to be advocates on their behalf actually decreases them of their workload and gets more people involved in the process. that is important. i think social media provides a low-cost, low barrier of entry, easy way for people to take action where they might not have been able to otherwise before, whether it is volunteering, sharing their opinion, getting other people involved. our report that measures the civic actions and behavior of our country as well as
community, it found that in a lot of ways, the internet is benefiting health. people, young people who use the internet for civic purposes are more likely to be involved off line as well. there have been other studies that -- the macarthur foundation. they found the same thing. people who pursue their interests are more likely to lly and the civic leaga engaged. they are more likely to vote. >> i will throw out a couple of examples. first of all, the harry potter alliance uses parallels from "harry potter" to inspire fans to be heroes. we work for other things besides harry potter.
one of those is a group called "nerd fighters." they are nerds who fight. unlike ordinary people who are made of muscle and bone and flesh and the nerves, nerds are made of the force of boston. it is only the force of boston to beckon fight the world soccer. that is the amount of suck in the world. one of the leaders of this community, john and hank green, they make these amazing youtuber videos. every week. they are brothers, they discarded as a project where they were video blogging to each other. they are really funny and interesting. you can check them out on youtube.
just a quick example. they call their following the nerd fighters. for his birthday there were going to do a big thing. it was going to be a big surprise. they get hundreds of thousands of these every week. they have a strong following. every year to a takeover youtube with people taking over youtube about what is awesome in the world. youtube has partnered with them. it has been amazing. it has increased awareness for all of these organizations. to speak to his birthday, on his birthday last year, johnson, hank, you are 30. i realize you do not like many things. you do not like stuff. i did not know what to get you. but then i remembered you like oxygen. for your 30th birthday, we have
planted 20,000 trees in your name. then he showed a 10 minute video of people in iraq, all over the united states, almost every continent except antarctica. this beautiful music of people planting trees with signs a said happy birthday, fohank. we work with them in the aftermath of the earthquake in haiti. we worked with all of these different people. we reached out to everyone we possibly new including j.k. rowling who sent us seven harry potter bucks. we reached out to the actors in the movies. they donated things and we sold them. you could get a raffle ticket to get those books. or for $70, you can get the guy who played draco sign something.
we had all of these famous authors and you to celebrities get on these weathercasts. we were pleading -- tweeting hhh. we raised over $123,000 from small donations. that sent five cargo planes full of medical supplies. each of them was named after a different harry potter character. we all have the power to create these contagious things. who is on facebook? who is on twittered? anybody on youtube? if you did not raise your hands, i would recommend doing it. you are all the sudden famous in this weird way. time magazine made the person of
the year you, meaning all of you. we are the ones recreating our world. we have that chance. you're not in this isolated world with in your school and community. you get on the internet and put something up, and one can see it. that is the difference between now and the 1990's. that is totally different and exciting. it means we can make things better contagious. sometimes they will not be contagious, sometimes they are. i used to be a comedian. i put up three videos. i could not believe that some many people watch them. we're living in a different age. we'll talk more about that. there is so much good we can do. you guys come up with ideas and work with other people to come up with ideas on how that can work. >> i would echo a lot of what he was saying. we're talking about how social media technology foster civic engagement.
it is redefining how we look at community. now we are no longer restrain to making connections with people who go to our school and church or who might be in some sort of a club. you can find people connected around one particular piece of content. at this point you are not limited by what you can see. if i can go in -- online for basketball, politics, what average maybe, you are making authentic connections with people than you would have been able to do 20 years ago. it is that connection from person to person, we are social people. what motivates us is not just our own interest but how those interests can relate to helping to connect with somebody else. now that we can develop
community in a different way, that is what provides a lot more connections that precious and motivate us to be more engaged. >> i think that your generation has a huge responsibility. there is so many challenges that we face as a nation and as a world. everything from the economy, we all know people who are out of work who cannot find jobs. there is the issue of climate change, global warming, there are wars around the world. there are all of these challenges that we face. some of it is not new. our parents faced challenges. our grandparents his face huge challenges. ronald reagan dealt with the challenge of communism in the world.
i do think this is a different time. your generation, you guys are going to be called on to deal with some pretty big challenges. one of the things you have that your parents did not have, that your parents to grant -- bram paris did not have, is a way to gain political power and to have a voice that has never existed before in the whole history of the world. if my grandparents wanted to get a message to the president of the united states, or to round up 1000 people for a cause, it would take years or it might be impossible. but today, you have direct access to people in power through social media. you can get on the president's
facebook page. you can get on the white house page. each of your local elected officials, if you have issues in your own community where there are potholes in your road or a crime in your neighborhood, you have immediate access to people in power who can do something about it through social media. you can create facebook group and get hundreds of your friends to join. people will pay attention. you have no lack of access of power for the first time in history. in the entire history of the world, young people have a voice. they have a seat at the table. they have no way of gaining access to people in power and to government agency and to their local official -- officials and to companies that make decisions
that impact millions of lives. with that? s and with that power that has never existed, there is also a great responsibility. i think that social media that was invented by your generation, it is going to change the world. if you leverage it in the right way. >> that was an awesome spider- man reference. anyone seen the first one? uncle ben before he got killed? with great power comes great responsibility. do not make uncle ben die in vain. [laughter] >> i wanted to ask a question. you're asked bridget mentioning challenges. you talk about how young people have a voice and a seat at the table. one of the things that is sometimes said about this generation is that they're given
the label of "slacktivists." that you're not really engaged if you click. you're not doing the same thing like malcolm glad well who wrote a piece in the "new yorker" who said that people are not the same sort of activist in the 1960's were sitting at lunch counters. i wanted to get your thoughts to that charge. >> there are some good points there. balancing the responsibility without access, we need to think around, it is not necessarily the same thing if i like a facebook page. we need to make sure there is a transition from this digital, passive engagement.
how does that connects to what she may actually be doing in your community, donations, mobilizing some other folks. if you're going to be engaged around something, you have to be doing something. liking and sharing a page it does maybe have limited impact or commitment but what they are our tools and the tools box. if we have responsibilities to impact change and we have is different landscape, we do not want to discount or a means for one person to share that link with 10 people and those 10 people to share with their friends. then within one hour you have something that is spread out to 10,000 people. it might be a passive level of engagement that engagement, sharing that link, leads to 10% of these people taking up that issue or having a better understanding of what the issue may be. they're able to get more deeply involved. we need to appreciate that.
the other side of it as well is what i would push back on any other adult who calls this a slacker passive person. we have the responsibility to work with you guys that we understand how you leverage and use the space. how you might better use facebook, twitter, messaging, the skills that you guys are the have. how does that impact the civil- rights era? there is nothing new under the sun in my mind. we have different tools to have certain types of impact. because there is another generation, there are adults who have -- should have perspective. we should work with young people to make sure that they are educating adults so we understand the space a little bit better. we need to work together to make
sure we're not discounting everything you guys are doing. we need to be careful in understanding which each small thing, we need to understand how one shift can have a large impact over time. whether it is the schools, parents, or you guys been more clear about it with yourselves, how do we leverage all of these tools to have an impact and be clear on what the impacts to what are, too. thank you care about global warming, it is not really that much. if you do have a clear goal, some sort of impact of these you can look at and say, i influence something. i was a part of this community the cared about this thing, i think that is worth recognizing.
i am glad you asked that question. it kind of goes -- somebody texted a minute ago, i wish my parents could hear this discussion. because our our generation, these were invented by as. there is this inherent misunderstanding that you are just playing around on facebook all day. it is not necessarily about that. even in the case that it is, and people are whacking things on facebook or joining causes that they are not -- people are liking the things on facebook, it is an on ramp to civic engagement. maybe next time, i can ask you
for a $5 donation. maybe the time after that, you'll help me champion 18. nobody comes in through social media saying, i am ready to cure cancer. they say, i am going to take big steps to find ways that i can use my network to make a difference. social media provides the opportunity for that. it is a means to an end. there are some inherent values in actions that occur that are taken for granted. with people who we might not get to talk to on a daily basis. >> i need five hours to talk
about this question. he has a big head, like their dad. that article -- like arrogant. that article was ridiculous. it raises too many questions. people take for granted the power of social media. he did raise some important questions. his summation of the civil- rights movement was oversimplified. beyond that, he is one of the coolest people out there, and i do not know when he decided to become an older man complaining about the kids today. that is what happens in that article. what about egypt? what about tunisia?
people are using facebook and twitter to end the dictatorships. what do you think now? he says, i still think the same think i thought before. there are valuable questions that he posed in that article, but beyond that, the reason why it is such a silly question, it is like saying, telephones are part of our lives. everybody uses a phone in some way. it permanently changes everything, it is part of your life. evaluating whether or not that is important, it is silly. critiquing this idea of using facebook -- it strikes me as what are we even talking about? it exists. by the way, i take special
offense to determine slacktivist. it is my last name, if you did not catch that. you will run positions of the beginnings of great power. if anyone wants to be an actor or a comedian, do it now. did not say that -- do it right now. do it with a cause. there are ways to do it, talk to me later. e-mail me. i will give you some tips on how to make a video viral. just but kittens in the video, people will watch it. everyone is going to think that is hilarious.
make a purity of a movie. you can do these things and create a change that we never could have before. we are at the ronald reagan library. this is someone who has known as the great communicator. right now, president obama, he would not be president or enough for social media. somebody else would have been president. we are looking at huge things. we are towering figures of history now, all of us. thomas friedman, who i do not always -- he had a great " were he said, the only composition that -- competition that exists now is the ones between us and our imaginations. imagine kittens. you can make a video that it's a million of views.
i know the guy made evolution of dance. has anyone seen that video? this is ridiculous. you can put in a message in those videos. have some fine bread i do not like -- have some fun it. why do we have to make everything so serious? we can have fun and still puts any message of how you can get involved in issues that matter. we are seeing that change in egypt and across the middle east right now. we are seeing it in our own communities. if you do not think that you have power, that is okay.
you can get the world to understand you on facebook and twitter and youtube. these are powerful things. use it. >> i am not following kittens. >> all rights. we have about five minutes before we get to the audience submitted questions. i want to take about a minute a piece for this question. in innovative ways in which organizations are encouraging civic engagement, especially with the age we have today. the ways that your work reaches out to this audience. >> about five weeks ago, i launched a website.
the website, as you come in there, there are these opportunities to take action and make a difference and learn about issues that affect young people. as you learn about those issues, you read the articles, you comment on them, or you share them on facebook, you are -- you earn points. we have built this point program around causes. the more points you earn, you start to get deals and discounts and awards on everything that you buy from computers to airline tickets to anything you can imagine. one of the things that we think splashlife ist
that if you are going to take the time to invest in the things around you or in your own lives , you'll earn points. the more you invest in yourself and the world, at the more splashlife invests in new. we have members who have earned the thousands of points already. you earn points the more you do. that is so we are doing. -- that is what we are doing. >> as i mentioned before, a lot of what the power that these tools do is it does not require
nonprofit or corporations or government to empower people. there are a lot of tools to let people do things themselves. i was not sure if i was going to mention this. i just saw that somebody treated -- tweeted me because it was my birthday. i decided to donate my birthday to charity drive i started a cause on facebook, which allows me to tell people, instead of buying me a gift for my birthday, give a donation to this cause. if you want to check it out, bit.ly.kc/bday. you can check out the team that i selected.
i knew i was going to get to talk about this today. they do a lot of communication and mobilization. i just think that is a great cause. that is an example of a time when you did not need an organization to ask you to be involved. another -- there are a couple of applications. if you have 10 minutes and a cell phone, you can volunteer. i can sit at the airport, which i will be doing later today, and died in volunteer. there are all -- and i kind of volunteered. there are all kinds of awesome ways that people can get involved. if you are cpr-certified, you
can download this application. if someone in your immediate vicinity goes into cardiac arrest, it will send you a text message there is a person three doors down from now that need cpr and you can go over and say that person's life. that is one of the most innovative, a maze of examples i can think of all the way that and a government can -- institution has been able to use these tools. one other example is this -- it is not always about the tools. we think a lot about -- my organization hosted a panel recently. we host a fellow from egypt. one of the comments that came out of that discussion was somebody said, the revolution will it have happened on papyrus if it had to.
it was less about the tools and more about the will of the people. i thought that was poignant. make sure we recognize them as tools and not as the be all and end all. the people of egypt over through mubarak and they used twitter to help do that. i could take five hours to talk about examples of amazing things that people are doing. a another example -- but you guys remember when the ipad came out? there -- there were all these conversations about how horrible of the name ipad was. everybody was making jokes about feminine hygiene products and it was uncomfortable and there was this itampon, and everybody was mortified. a friend of mine, sheet used the
opportunity to take that name where people were telling these >> jokes. these are all funny jokes, but did you know that x number of women in africa do not have access to a feminine hygiene products? while you are joking about ipad, you might consider giving to this organization. who is providing the services to women in africa. that was something that was not about twitter. it was not about the fact that twitter did it. she saw something that was happening and turn that into an authentic opportunity. i think that is so powerful. >> that is so cool. what we are doing in the harry potter alliance, we are using
parallels from harry potter. who has seen the movies? who is looking forward to july 15? we are fighting in the real world. we are doing a whole campaign. everything from that to child slavery. it turns out that a lot of dark chocolate is made from child slaves in the ivory coast. fair trade chocolate can make that not happen. it can make that evaporate. we have over 15,000 signatures right now. i am about to meet with warner brothers this week to talk to them about how we can work together to make that happen.
we are in the middle of doing all these wonderful things. we are building a library in brooklyn, in a charter school. we have donated over 75,000 books across the world. these -- this is all through social media. beyond that, there was this quotation. we do not need magic to change the world, we have all the power inside of us already. we have the power to a imagine better. we are creating a new organization called imagine better. let's fight the sky people and protect the pandora in our world.
that kind of stuff. bringing together all this stuff so that we are all working together to imagine better. that is what we are all doing. that is why we are all doing every time we log onto facebook. we see magic is an amoral force. so is social media. let's try to use this magic for good, defense against the dark arts. that is why we are working to do. everybody can get involved with us at hpa.org. >> how many of you guys are able
to access facebook while you are in school? or any social network? that is a pretty surprising number, actually. how about youtube? a little bit of a mix, which is good. going back to this tool box, that all of these out let's -- out beds are told that you can put into a tool box to help accomplish a goal. one thing that i would throw out there, how are we helping you guys get access and the skills? from our end, all lot of the work that we have been doing, we developed a social learning
network where all the schools that we work with, all the participants, can continue to connect to all of their peers, mentors, and all the work they're doing on line. we will bring all of the interactions and say, we appreciate that and we understand the value in it that. we know the connections, that is a very important thing. how can we design experience is around that? we are desperately trying to make sure that we can look -- we are trying to make sure that we can bring more of that into the classroom or an after-school space, etc. we have a partnership with chicago public library where we are trying to free vix the
library experience. if you guys go into any library, be as quiet as possible. it is not really much of a dynamic experience. it has been the same thing for however long. we have opened up a 5000 square- foot space for teenagers to engage in digital media inside of the library. it is strictly for teenagers. any kid in the city that has a library card can get access to equipment, laptops, cameras, video games. they can get access to mentors, a professional artists. you can get connected with a professional video editor. they can help you hold that craft. -- hone that craft. if you identify a cause or you want to express yourself in a
certain way, you have that tool box that is being developed over time so that you are getting power to be even more impact will in terms of these environments. a challenge to all of us working with folks is to listen to you in terms of how you want to communicate. we need to figure out how we can bring that in a little bit more. a lot of examples that you guys have talked about, can we not just point them -- if we are limited by our creativity, you guys can have the greatest idea. i was having a conversation with a group out of the bay area. they are developing an application or they can tap into their own networks.
that is something that the kids can think up. we can work would be teenagers to develop those things. we have that transparency to make these connections, but can we take it a step further? what are the skills that you can develop over time that will allow you to make the most out of these spaces? >> excellent. thank you very much. one of the cool things about this panel is that even though we have been the ones talking for the most part, you guys have been in on the conversation through social media. we want to use the rest of our cattle. we have about 15 or 20 minutes -- the rest of our panel. we will go back and forth. i will turn to janet, it has
been monitoring the online conversation. if anyone has a question, you can line up over here. we have a microphone. if anyone has a question, we will do that. we will go ahead and ask jenna to submit one of the student's question. >> our first question is, how can we get our technical -- technophobic parents into this conversation? >> one thing that helps out a lot is that parents think that he might be on facebook wasting your time, you guys also need to help your parents understand what the value of that is.
if you are organizing a group to do something, if you have this how do you make sure you put that out in front of your parents? parents love to see their kids create new things. they are making so many assumptions about what it is that you are happening when you are staring at this phone all day or a laptop all day. beheld you. that gap and create these conversations with parents? >> i think one of the things that is important is the same way that it is important how to get your friends involved, make it personal. to show them the value of this and why it is important. my parents for to me that they would never join facebook.
i am a afraid of it, it is too much personal information, and nobody needs to know what i meeting for breakfast. i will never do it. my brother joined the army. my brother's capt. since my parents a letter and said we started a facebook fayed -- a facebook page for the troupe. if that is the right word. you better believe that my parents both have facebook accounts in about 36 seconds. it was the first time they ever really felt like it provided them a very specific reasons and a very specific value add. in the same way that we talked to our friends about it, we have to talk to your parents about it in the same way a great big you could sit down with me and we could understand together how facebook works and i could show you about a facebook caused and i could tell you how to set up
this profile. >> i usually get the opposite question. when i am talking to young people. how do i keep my parents off my facebook page because it is private and i do not want them to know everything that is going on in my life? making it a personal is probably one of the most important things. our parents did not grow up with these tools. even more important than getting them involved is helping to educate them so that day at least supports you in your efforts to reduce social media to become cynically engaged. -- civically ingates.
it is a whole new world. my mom is also on facebook and it takes time, but once they are on, there is just as addictive. >> once people do it, it makes all the difference. in 2003, my mom said, i really want to learn the computer. there are certain people that are meant for the computer and there are certain people who are not. you are just one of those people who are not. now, on her own initiative, she is riding on my facebook walt all the time about how much she loves me. -- writing on my facebook walt all the time about how much she loves me. he teaches questions -- she
teaches a class is on spirituality right now. she knows more about things than i do. i would encourage you to show your parents some examples that we talked about today. >> excellent. it looks like most of our questions are coming in online. >> the birthday girl's name is misspelled. >> i did not even notice. >> most of our questions are coming in online. i saw a waterfall of questions. let me go back to janet. >> how do i convince my principle to let us use facebook, twitter, etc.?
>> challenging. one way that i have seen this done that i thought was really interesting is that it was a school in texas and it was a high school. a teacher started doing it and she was letting people tweet during her class. students who did not always speak up felt like they could ask questions or they goods -- that way, the thing that was helpful what it laet stude nts check notes that they might have missed when they were studying. when the teacher was traveling, she could tweet into the class. i am watching you. there are a lot of challenges. one of the things that she was